The Timberjay

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In the newly released childhood memoir "My Brave Little Man," author T.A. Degner transports readers back to the trauma­filled years before his adoption by a Wendell, Minnesota farm couple. With novelistic flair and impressive detail, the author chronicles his first eight years in a rarely visited slice of the country.

As a young boy, T.A. Degner ( a pen name created for the book) had been shuffled from one nesting arrangement to another. First, he had lived with his grandparents on their rustic farmstead near Cook, then with his intellectually disabled mother and a mostly absent alcoholic father, and finally with a boorish relative.

In spite of a dysfunctional family life, he had been relatively happy. The real problems started when the author's mother dropped him and his two younger siblings off at an orphanage. A week later, they ran away to find their mother, and he ended up at the hospital in a straitjacket.

Thus began the author's journey of triumph over mul­tiple misfortunes. Eight years later, while lying on the banks of a river on his adoptive parents' farm and inspired by the many Dickens novels he had read, the author promised God he would share his story with the world. "My Brave Little Man" is the fulfillment of that promise.

"The story profiles an era in a setting that has not been well-documented in either fiction or memoir until now," wrote Lynn Cross, an editor, poet and copywriter, in her review of the book. "The author spins tales of his transformation from a sweet little blond cherub to a strong-willed school-age rebel. Often funny, sometimes hair-raising, it is the inspirational story of a vigorous spirit meeting multiple challenges and emerging, though somewhat bruised, as essentially whole and strong."

Degner, who now lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota is a husband, father, and grandfather. He is semi-retired, active in sports, and affectionately chasing after 15 grandchildren.

For over 23 years, he produced, wrote, directed and edited hundreds of video, sound and multimedia productions, including children's shows, documentaries, dramas, and training and promotional programs. For 12 of those years .he owned and managed his own production company.

In the early years, he worked in theater and he studied and taught television drama, with an emphasis on script development. One of his students was a young man by the name of John Ritter of "Three's Company" fame.

Degner has an education in electronics from the U.S. Navy, a degree from the University of Minnesota in broadcasting journalism, and is a certified webmaster.

The 304-page book is available at the library in Cook, on and, or you can visit the author's website and order an autographed copy. The author's website is and his e-mail address is